Meaning – The term public network, refers to a network established and operated by a telecommunication administration or by a Recognized Private Operating Agency (RPOA) for the specific purpose of providing circuit-switched, packet-switched, and leased-circuit services to the public.
This is in contrast to a private network, where restrictions and access rules are established in order to relegate access to a select few. Since a public network has few or no restrictions, users need to be wary of possible security risks when accessing it.
A public network is a usage designation rather than a topology or other technically related principle.
Because any user can connect to a public network, its level of security needs to be heightened and various anti-threat and malicious act precautions must be put in place.
Example of usage – “There is no technical difference between a private and public network in terms of hardware and infrastructure, except for the security, addressing and authentication systems in place.”